Online Graduate Physics Courses

Find out about the topics you can study in online graduate physics classes, such as thermodynamics and electricity. Learn how online and hybrid graduate physics courses work.

What Topics Are Covered in Graduate Physics Courses Online?

Through online graduate courses in physics, you have the opportunity to study a variety of topics in a number of fields in physics, such as physics education and applied physics. However, the availability of online graduate level courses is rather limited. Examples of five of the types of courses you might find are described below.


A course in electromagnetics often has a strong focus on Maxwell equations. Students will also learn about electrostatics, antennas, electromagnetic waves in plasmas, polarization, forces and energy, and transmission line theory and circuit concepts.


The student is introduced to the basic concepts of mechanics in this course. Topics of learning might include gravitation, Lagrangian formulation, Hamilton's principle, fluids, oscillation, and Liouville's theorem.

Quantum Mechanics

In this course, students will learn about the applications of quantum mechanics, as well as the math behind it. A few of the concepts explored include Schrodinger and Hamiltonian equations, quantum mechanical spin, Bell's theorem, and approximation methods. Quantum mechanics courses often require students to complete problem sets to apply their knowledge.


In an optics course, students are exposed to the fundamentals of light measurement. Depending on the focus of study in the course, the topics of discussion might include radiometry, Gaussian optics, photometry, wave motion, and the physics of gases.


Depending on the focus of study in this course, students might learn about modern photonic and fiber-optic systems or optoelectronic phenomena and radiation devices. Other topics of discussion might include crystal optics, photons in semiconductors, resonators and beams, light modulation, and nonlinear optics.

At What Levels Are Courses Offered?

Online graduate courses in physics are available through master's and doctorate degree programs. Some of these courses are available only through a degree program in conjunction with on-campus courses, especially for laboratory course work. Others are offered individually for specific purposes, such as refresher courses in physics. Non-credit, self-paced graduate-level physics courses are also offered online through OpenCourseWare programs.

How Do Online Courses Work?

Online courses are often asynchronous, which means they can be accessed at any time. You will partake in lessons online; they're usually available through audio and video lectures. Downloadable lecture notes offer supplemental information, as do readings that you will complete through regularly-assigned textbook readings. You will also be expected to interact with your classmates via discussion boards, Web chat and e-mail.